This is the first of a (hopefully long) series of short interviews with Bibble Plugin developers. We will start with Roger Barnes (Mind Socket on the Bibble forums). His website can be found here.
Please do tell us a bit about yourself
I live in Australia, am 30 years old and am a Java applications developer by trade. I've been around computers my whole life, and have been interested in photography for about 10 years.
How did you find out about Bibble?
I can't remember exactly. I'm a keen Linux user, so Bibble quickly became apparent as pretty much the only serious choice for RAW processing.
Did you use Bibble before Bibble5 was introduced? What was your first Bibble version?
I started out with Bibble 4.
What motivated you to develop plugins for Bibble?
At first, I developed a neutral density filter out a genuine need for one in my own workflow. I had a lot of photos with areas that were over or underexposed relative to other parts of the image, and I didn't want to have to export and manually edit 16-bit files in another program.
Why did you choose Bibble and not another product to develop plugins for?
Mainly because it was my main workflow application of choice, and because it was there (Bibble had real plugins before the competitors). If I were using other software, there's a reasonable chance I'd be hacking away on that though. I like Bibble not just for it's plugin architecture, but it also has a few other aspects that can be tweaked and customised by a geek like me. :)
It took quite some time before B5 was available, even as a beta. Did it bother you as a plugin developer?
Not directly. As a user, I was happy to continue using Bibble 4, and knew that when Bibble 5 became available I would be able to move to it. As a plugin developer, I knew I wanted to provide the same support to Bibble 5 users, but the timing of B5 just meant that it happened later.
Do you think it is hard to develop plugins for Bibble?
Not really, the SDK is fairly accessible to anyone with a little programming knowledge, some relevant knowledge of image processing concepts and a burning desire to hack away at it. I haven't done much with C++ or image processing software in many years, but I was still able to become familiar enough to develop a useful plugin.
What do you think of the support you get from Bibble Labs?
It's pretty good. As a software developer myself, I totally understand the kind of pressure that a small team can be put under from all angles. So, while there are times when the support lags a little, it's at least as good as the bigger players, and the ability to communicate directly with the developers is quite unique and appreciated. It's obvious that, in general, Bibble Labs "gets it" when it comes to customer feedback and relations.
Tell us a bit more about your plugins. Which platforms do you natively support? Do you rely on others for the other platforms?
I have only one, GradFilter, which flexibly simulates graduated filters of varying types. It works on all of the platforms that Bibble 4 and 5 support.
Which is your favorite plugin from your own set of plugins? And why?
GradFilter, because it's the only plugin. It would probably still be my favorite even if I had others, as it often amazes me the things it can do with RAW images.
What are the things you think Bibble Labs could change to make plugins even better?
Better standards/infrastructure for finding and installing plugins would be great. From an integration point of view, I'm sure people would like support for export plugins, but frankly that's not something that interests me. Apart from that, a more flexible interface to allow plugins to interact with tools for selecting colors, angles, regions etc would open up the possibilities somewhat. To be honest, I'm quite happy supporting my one plugin more or less in its current form for now.
Which plugins do you use most in your Bibble application (apart from your own)
I've used a number of Sean Puckett's fantastic plugins on Bibble 4 (Andy, Sharpie, Percy and others) and still use Andrea now with B5. Having only just started using B5 seriously, I've started to experiment with the others, especially Pixie and Vigne.
Any advice for photographers looking for a great raw workflow application?
There are going to be different ones that suit people's ideal workflow better. The fact that Bibble 5 is flexible, cross-platform, well-supported and crazy fast sure helps sway my decision. My only gripe is the layout doesn't lend itself to a dual monitor setup, but I'm sure a fix is in the pipeline.